UPDATE: EPA Warning of Continued PCB Contamination at Sky Valley Education Center

July 2021 UPDATE:

“A Friedman Rubin, PLLP trial team led by Rick Friedman, Sean Gamble, and Henry Jones, obtained a $185 Million Dollar verdict today in the case of Erickson et. al. v. Monsanto. The case involved three public school teachers who sued Monsanto and its corporate successors for poisoning teachers, students and parents who attended Sky Valley Education Center in Monroe, Washington between 2011 and 2016. The three teachers were the first plaintiffs to reach trial against Monsanto from a group of over 200 teachers, students and parents exposed to leaking PCB ballasts in fluorescent light fixtures at the school. The verdict follows years of hard-fought litigation between Monsanto, now owned by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, and a group of parents, students and teachers who would not give up in their quest for justice.”

See the full announcement: https://friedmanrubin.com/news-blogs/

In the next four years, around twenty more trials with multiple petitioners are scheduled.

November 2020 UPDATE:

A letter dated November 2, 2020 from the EPA to the Monroe Public School District Superintendent regarding “Inspection Report and Warning Letter- Ongoing use and management of PCBs at Sky Valley Education Center (SVEC)” has been made public.

On October 23, 2019, Kendall Moore, enforcement officer at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted an inspection at Sky Valley Education Center (SVEC) and at the Monroe school district transportation site. The purpose of the inspection was to document the facility’s PCB handling, storage and disposal practices for the PCB Program to determine SVEC’s compliance with applicable PCB regulations and the PCB Risk Based Disposal Approval (RBDA or Approval) issued by the EPA to SVEC September 15, 2017. The need to determine compliance was in response to new information brought to the EPA’s attention about potential sources of PCBs remaining at the school and unauthorized storage of PCB waste at the district transportation site . . .

. . . The EPA is concerned that SVEC may still have PCB material onsite, three years after certifying to the EPA that all PCB material was removed and disposed prior to the EPA’s issuance of a Risk-Based Disposal Approval to SVEC in 2017. The EPA has been aware of leaking PCB FLBs and SVEC’s attempts to identify and remove them since 2013. We are very concerned that PCB contaminated fixtures continue to be found, six years into the process of inspecting and taking inventory, cleaning and removing and disposing of light fixtures.

 Read the full letter below.

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Sky Valley Education Center in Monroe and other schools in WA State are contaminated with dangerous levels of PCB’s and their by-products, including dioxins and furans.

“Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer.”

Dioxins and their effects on human health


As a public service to the community, ICWA is publishing the THE RESULTS OF AN ENVIRONMENTAL INSPECTION, which has been made public.

This letter includes the “Analysis Results for Chemicals at the Sky Valley Education Center, Monroe, Washington, Collected in January 2019, that Require State and Federal Environmental and Health Protection Agencies to Investigate and Certify that the School is Safe for Occupancy and Use.”

A top environmental testing company anaylst reported:

“I have received the information that you sent to me regarding the transmittal of samples, laboratory analytical results and a summary for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PCDDs), and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF). All samples were taken at the Sky Valley Education Center (SVEC) in Monroe, Washington, on January 4, 2019by Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. (EHE), a national consulting firm based in Newton, Massachusetts. The samples were shared with representatives of the Monroe School District, and Monsanto Chemical Company at the time that they were collected, so both named parties have samples equivalent to the ones whose analytical results were sent to me.

EHE had the samples analyzed for PCBs. Six samples were additionally analyzed for PCDDs, and PCDFs, over the next two months. PCDD and PCDF results from all six of the indoor samples analyzed for these chemicals were well above the federal ATSDR screening level of 50 parts per trillion (ppt; equal to 50 picograms per gram of material sampled), and five of the six samples were above U.S. EPA’s draft cleanup standards (cited by the State of Washington’s Department of Ecology in 2011). All six samples also exceeded U.S. EPA’s November 2018 Regional Screening Level, residential soil cleanup guidance level of 4.8 picograms per gram (ppt) by 10-100 fold. Five of the six samples analyzed were taken from indoor areas representative of what children and teachers could have been exposed to through 2018, in spite of cleanup and maintenance performed in the SVEC school environment. This is unacceptable, and may represent an extremely toxic indoor environment. These results occurred after the school district cleaned up the SVEC in preparation for the site inspection and sampling by EHE – in December 2018, according to information that I was given at an informal meeting with former teachers at the school prior to the site inspection, and consistent with the signs of intense cleaning that I observed during my inspection of the school on January 3, 2019.”

Click the link below to read the full letter and analysis:

NOTICE TO Governmental Agencies Regarding PCBs

From the WA State Department of Ecology:

What are PCBs?

PCBs were produced for commercial uses from about 1929 until the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act banned the chemicals for most uses and restricted PCB concentrations to low levels. PCBs were used mostly in heat transfer fluids in electrical transformers and capacitors, but also as plasticizers, wax and pesticide extenders, and lubricants. Caulk that seals cracks in buildings used to contain PCBs at high levels.

Electrical transformers and other products made before commercial production of PCBs ended may still contain PCBs. New products can also contain PCBs at low levels, either as unintentional contaminants or as inadvertent byproducts during manufacturing.

Washington residents are primarily exposed to PCBs through diet — often by eating fish that contain PCBs.

Toxicity and health effects

PCBs have toxic effects to the immune, reproductive, nervous, and endocrine systems in people and other organisms. PCBs also cause cancer in animals and are likely to cause cancer in people.

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